City attorney: Rep. Hernandez’ must resign, special election needed to replace her

News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – City Rep. Cassandra Hernandez resigned from the El Paso City Council the moment a change on Hernandez’ Facebook page notified that she was running for mayor, the city’s attorney Lloyd F. Denton of Denton Navarro Rocha & Bernal PC said Monday during a special meeting.

According to outside legal counsel on behalf of the city and city officials, Hernandez will still have her position on council until she has a replacement for her seat. It is still unclear when city leaders will hold a special election to find the replacement.

During a special meeting on Monday, Hernandez and her attorney said the campaign page on Facebook for a Mayoral Run wasn’t official, “This is not an authorized, intentional announcement for any public office other than the one I hold today.”

“It was an inadvertent public notification that went out when they changed the name of that Facebook account,” Attorney Daniel Marquez explained.

Under Texas law, any officeholder who announces a campaign for a different seat must resign.

The city’s legal counsel said the brief campaign page is considered a public announcement which leads to an automatic resignation.

Hernandez released a statement at 5:00 p.m. on Monday and claimed she did not announce her resignation, “My position is that I did not announce for public office and therefore did not resign”

Council postponed the vote on September 3rd to decide on a special election to replace her seat which could be in line with the general election on November 5th.

However, city council does have a deadline to call the special election no later than September 20th.

“What our job is, is to determine when this next election is going to be,” said Rep. Dr. Sam Morgan. “If we make our decision by September 20th, it could be in conjunction with this bond election at no additional cost to the constituents or taxpayers. But if we miss that deadline, then it’s going to be a cost to the community. In this case, being only for one district, we’re probably looking at a little over $100,000.”

Hernandez represents parts of East El Paso and the Lower Valley.

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